The West Virginia University Faculty Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday (Dec. 14) to reject a one-month time limit before “not reported” grades are automatically changed to an “F,” opting instead for a one-semester window.
The Senate’s 65-7 vote came after Registrar Steve Robinson presented a new policy in which a “NR” would automatically be converted to an F one month after a semester ends.
While Robinson said the vote is not binding, he agreed to accept the Senate’s wishes. The new policy takes effect immediately, and any NR grade remaining from the Fall 2009 semester will convert to Fs at the end of the Spring 2010 semester.
Previously there had been no policy in dealing with NRs until a review of University degree-granting practices by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers was conducted and recommendations adopted.
“Clear and consistent policies for when and how long a ‘NR’ or ‘I’ (incomplete) grade designation can remain in place should be established and strictly enforced,” the AACRAO report stated.
“The University Registrar should automatically change these grade designations to an ‘F’ if they have not been resolved by the specified time,” the report concluded. “These policies should be strictly enforced at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Any student receiving an ‘I’ or ‘NR’ must sign a contract specifying the steps and timetable to be followed to resolve these grade designations.”
Robinson said there were more than 7,000 NRs in the system dating back to 1996, and that some 638 current students had NRs on their records.
Under the new plan, the past NRs will be changed to W (withdrew before the date specified in the University calendar). He said the Registrar’s office will immediately begin changing the historical NRs.
Under the plan, students, instructors and department chairs will be notified of the pending change in plenty of time for them to report a letter grade or an incomplete.
Several senators also objected to the change to an F instead of some other designation such as a W, saying it amounted to an administrative change that reflected a “judgment on course work,” which is a faculty prerogative.
But Robinson said opting for a different designation would run afoul of other University policies.
Some senators also complained that the change penalized students for something that is often the fault or neglect of an instructor not completing the grading process.
While Robinson agreed to the deadline extension, he noted that would result in transcripts being sent out with NRs listed where grades should be.
Senators also heard reports from President Jim Clements, Board of Governors Chair Carolyn Long, newly appointed Chief Information Officer Rehan Kahn and others.
Long praised the Senate for its support during the last year and a half.
“We could not be where we are today if the faculty and staff had not gotten behind us and trusted us that we really want what’s best for WVU” Long said. “Your criticism, your information and your advice has been listened to and much of it has been taken.
“It’s made us a better board,” she said.
Clements cited several recent achievements of the school and various faculty and students as this “successful semester” draws to a close.
However, he noted that it’s time to begin planning for a new strategic plan as the current one expires in 2010.
He urged the faculty to be looking at all University structures, especially in the areas of research and diversity, and to be prepared to have an “honest and open” discussion in the coming months about the structures needed to make WVU the strongest it can be.
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